PARENTS said their children have been left struggling to reach their Cullingworth school after being turned down for school bus places.

Two mums of teenagers at Parkside School said they appealed unsuccessfully after their children failed to receive school bus passes.

Michelle Dawson, of Oxenhope, and Pam Dowden, of Haworth, said the situation was causing stress and inconvenience.

Miss Dawson, who works as a higher level teaching assistant at a different school, has a 16-year-old daughter at Parkside.

She explained: “There have been issues in the past where children haven’t been allocated places on school buses.

“But this year the problem seems to be much bigger. A number of children in years 11, 12 and 13 have been unsuccessful in securing places on the school bus service.

“Places are allocated based on priority of age. However, there needs to be sufficient services to meet increasing demand as the school increases its intake year on year.

“There are criteria as to why a place isn’t allocated, but even if you ‘tick all the boxes’ they are still rejecting appeals.

“We live in Oxenhope, where our ‘regular’ bus service has been reduced significantly over the years, but they don’t seem to be taking this into account.

“Children aren’t even placed on a waiting list for a school bus pass. We’ve been told to try again at half term. How is that acceptable?

“Those affected have to leave home ridiculously early to get buses into town and catch a connection.”

Miss Dawson said her daughter has managed to use the school bus without a pass, due to it having enough empty seats, but added the insecurity of this arrangement was far from ideal.

“I want to know she has got to school safely,” she said. “At the moment she’s texting me to let me know she’s made it to school alright.

“After school I’m picking her up myself, which means I have to re-arrange my own work meetings.”

Mrs Dowden, who is employed in financial services in Halifax, has two sons at Parkside. Her older son, who is 17, was refused a school bus pass. She said: “I wouldn’t have a problem if there was a suitable, frequent, alternative public bus service we could use, but there isn’t.

“My husband and I must juggle our work commitments with driving our son to school. It’s not convenient for me, and means I’m having to start work later.

“I’m happy to pay for a school bus pass, that isn’t the issue. But we’re not getting the outcome we need from the system.”

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which co-ordinates home to school travel for young people across West Yorkshire, responded: “Due to school buses being oversubscribed, a small number of older students from Year 11 and above have not, unfortunately, been allocated a place on a school service. This is consistent with previous academic years.

“Applications for school travel are judged against criteria based on Government guidelines, which consider whether students are able to complete their journey within a reasonable timescale using existing public transport.

“Experience shows that, after the first few weeks of operation, the number of regular travellers on school bus services reduces.

“We’ll monitor numbers travelling on Parkside School services throughout September and issue more passes if it becomes evident that places are available.”